Turkey Tetrazzini

Slow Cooker Turkey Tetrazzini by A Year of Slow Cooker
(some modifications) 

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce package) wheat spaghetti noodles, cooked
  • 1-2 pounds turkey breast, cut in small chunks
  • 5 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package Neufchatel cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt to taste at the table

Directions

  1. Spray a 4qt or 6qt cooking spray.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients except the pasta together and place into the crock pot and cook on low 6 hours.
  3. Add cooked pasta and cook on low for 1 more hour.
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Crockpot Meatballs

Not Your Mother’s Meatballs by A Year of Slow Cooking
(with some adjustments)

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 finely crushed breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped parsley and meat. Add in Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, and the dried spices. Combine well.
  2. After the meat is mixed, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Pour 1 cup of flour into a shallow dish, like a pie pan.
  3. Roll meat into golf ball-sized balls and then lightly dust each meat ball with flour before placing  onto the lined cookie sheet. When all the meat is gone, put the whole cookie sheet into the freezer for 1 hour, or until completely frozen. It’s okay to freeze overnight.
    **If you prefer to make these ahead of time for a future date, after they are individually frozen, put them into a Tupperware container or freezer bag. By individually freezing them first you will prevent them from sticking and can pull them out whenever you need a quick meal!
  4. Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Spray the inside of your cooker with cooking spray and set aside.
  5. Once your meatballs are frozen, place them one-by-one into your lightly greased slow cooker. It’s okay to stack them.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the broth and tomato paste to create a gravy. Pour this evenly over the meatballs. Cover, and cook on low for 5 hours, or until the meatballs have browned and are fully cooked.

Jason’s Turkey Sloppy Joes

I handed this recipe off to Jason to prepare a few weeks ago and he said it was extremely easy to make. While you could easily open a can of Manwich when you’re in the mood for Sloppy Joes, this is a healthier and tastier option. The original recipe is from good old Rachel Ray’s Everyday Food – the woman notorious for delicious and quick meal ideas.

Turkey Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Everyday Food (found on TheKitchenSinkRecipes.com)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey (93% lean, dark meat)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 good-quality hamburger rolls, split

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium; add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add turkey; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve on rolls.

New Year, Old Recipe

I have to apologize for my lack of blogging over the past few months. Life has been so busy that blogging kept getting pushed down the “To Do” list until life settled down. For those of you who have been worried about Jason the last few months, you can rest assure that he has had a full belly of delicious and nutritious foods. Two years have come and gone faster than I could have ever imagined. The last month has been full of significant life events.

Dec.4 – Last day of my dietetic internship (wahoo!!)
Dec. 13 – Graduation from my Master’s program
Dec. 19 – We signed our new lease in Appleton, WI
Dec. 23 – Move in day!
Now – Studying for the R.D. (Registered Dietitian) Exam

Now that life has settled and I am focusing on finding a job and studying for the RD exam, I am able to schedule in some much needed food blogging. Here is a recipe from a few months ago that was so delicious that I kept it at the top of my “Recipes to Blog List.” This burger recipe stretches the meat, adds protein and nutrition, and is absolutely delicious – I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Black Bean Turkey Burger
Ingredients
– 20 ounces ground turkey
– 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 c. frozen corn, thawed
– 1 small onion, finely diced
– 2 TBSP whole wheat bread crumbs
– 2 tsp chili powder
– 1 tsp black pepper
– 1 ounce low-fat cheddar or part-skim mozzarella cheese
– Fresh Spinach
– Sliced tomatoes
– Kraft Olive Oil Mayo (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven (or grill) to 350F
2. In a large bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients together. Form into about 8 burger patties.
3. Bake for for 25-30 minutes, until the internal temperature reads 165F.
4. Serve on a whole wheat bun with a slice of cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and olive oil mayo.

That pasta salad in the recipe was just a hog-pog recipe that I threw together. Since it was a few months ago I cannot remember exactly what I did. It is likely similar to the Cucumber Relish Pasta Salad I made this past summer. As a general rule of thumb, I take whatever vegetables I have on hand, dice them all into different sizes/shapes, add cooked and cooled whole wheat pasta, and toss them with a salad dressing or oil, balsamic vinegar (my favorite), and herbs. There is no right or wrong recipe – just be sure to taste the dressing you are making before you add it to the vegetables and pasta. Enjoy!

Tortilla Fajita Bake

Oh, life is so busy right now. Today is my first day “off” since the start of the semester so it will be my catch-up day. But, I am a (wo)man of my word, so you will get your post for the week before I get down to business.

I can’t remember when I made this but I do remember it was good. I have made variations of it every few months for the past year. Jason always loves it and it is simple to make, so it is a win-win situation.

Tortilla Fajita Bake

Ingredients:

  • Flour tortillas (I used white this time, but multi-grain are great because they can stand up to the juices)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 block of part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 3/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • Fajita seasoning packet
  • Salsa

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, brown ground turkey and onion. Add the seasoning packet and peppers once the meat is nearly done. Cook until peppers have only a little crunch left.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a casserole dish.
  3. Layer dish with tortilla shells
  4. Top the shells with thin, but complete layer of the meat mixture. Spread salsa over the meat mixture and top with half of the cheese. Layer with sells and follow with just the meat mixture. Top with shells and then top the shells with cheese.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven), or until the cheese is golden.

See you next week!

Turkey and Rice with Tomato Pepper Sauce

Turkey and Rice with Tomato Pepper Sauce

(Modified from the Best of Cooking Light Everyday Favorites recipe for Stuffed Peppers)

Ingredients

· 1.5 pounds of 93% lean ground turkey

· 1 cup diced onions

· 2 tbsp dried parsley

· 2 tsp paprika

· ½ tsp salt

· ¼ tsp ground all-spice

· 2 colored peppers (I used yellow and orange), chopped

· 2 cups tomato sauce

· 2 cups brown rice, cooked

· ½ cup grated Parmesan

Directions

1. Heat a large skilled to medium. Add the ground turkey and onion and cook for 3 minutes, breaking up the meat while you cook it. Add in the parsley, paprika, salt and all-spice and continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Add the chopped peppers and cook until the meat is browned.

2. Add the pasta sauce and brown rice to the mixture. Continue to cook over medium heat for 3-5 more minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese.

*the original recipe is for stuffed peppers. Here is what you can do to make these stuffed:

  1. Heat the oven to 450F.
  2. Do not cut up the peppers but cook the rest of the mixture as directed. You will need at least 4 more peppers for this recipe. Cut off the tops of the peppers and discard the seeds and membrane. Do not throw out the top – reserve for later. Place peppers in the microwave for 2 minutes so they are still slightly crisp, but a little tender. Let cool.
  3. Place about ¾ cup of the cooked beef mixture into each pepper and place each pepper into a sprayed baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, or until lightly browned. Garnish with the reserved pepper tops.

Turkey Chili

Jason loves this recipe and it is extremely easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 10oz of ground turkey, browned
  • 15oz can of kidney beans or 1 cup dried beans, soaked
  • 24oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup whole wheat elbow noodles, not cooked*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup spaghetti cause or tomato sauce

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients into a 3-4 serving crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent the side from burning.

*It is okay to put the uncooked noodles in directly because the water and heat will cook them. If you do not like mushy noodles, add them when there is 2 hours left.

Traditional Hamburger Helper

I really think this hamburger helper takes just about the same amount of time as the boxed version but tastes much better.

Ingredients

  • 10oz of ground turkey (double this recipe if you are using the entire package. I use half the package for chili and half for this, which is why it is only 10oz)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 6 oz low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups whole wheat elbow noodles
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring water to a bowl and cook the noodles.
  2. While the water is getting started, place the ground turkey in a pan and brown it. Do not drain the fat (it will only be about 1-2tbsp) and add the onion. Cook the onion until it is tender and then turn off the heat, but leave the meat and onion in the skillet.
  3. Measure 1/4 cup of milk and add the flour to the measuring cup. Stir until the chunks are gone and then add the remaining 3/4 cup of milk. This is a slurry method for a white sauce and is much lower in calories and fat than a traditional white sauce, which is what we want since we will be adding cheese to it.
  4. Add the milk mixture to a small or medium skillet and heat over medium high heat. Continuously still with a spatula to prevent clumping. Bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the skillet on the warm burner. Add the cheese and stir until well blended.
  5. By this point the noodles should be cooked and ready to be drained. Drain and add them to the meat mixture. Pour the cheese mixture over the top and stir until well combined.
  6. Serve and enjoy! You will never want to buy the box again!

Stuffed Herb Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers are probably the most consumed form of meat in our apartment. Jason really likes them, so we usually stock up on the Jennie-O patties when they are on sale, so we have a quick meal on hand. However, I prefer homemade turkey burgers over the patties; mainly because I can cover up the turkey burger taste with other tasty things 🙂

Last weekend I was inspired by More than Burnt Toast’s* version of stuffed burgers. I tried doing mozzarella stuffed burgers once before but they ended up falling a part a little. When I told Jason I was trying them again, he was skeptical, but it was my chance to prove him wrong (as all wives seems to love to do). Thankfully, they turned out great! Jason and I both loved them and I will be making them again sometime soon.

Please don’t mind the super fake white bun…usually we go for the good buns, but we were at Aldis this week and all they have are those classic generic brand enriched buns. Hopefully next time we will get some good wheat buns 🙂

*More than Burnt Toast’s Stuffed Burgers: http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/2008/09/bifteki-yemista-stuffed-burgers-with.html

Ingredients
-20 oz. lean ground turkey
-1/4 cup bread crumbs
-1 half of a roasted red pepper, diced
-2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, diced
-1/4 cup chives, diced
-Feta Cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. Start your outdoor grill.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the cheese and mix well with your hands.
  3. Form the meat mixture into a ball and with your hand, press in a seam down the middle horizontally and vertically to make the ball into 4 equal pieces (this will be the size for each of the 4 burgers. Anything smaller will be hard to stuff, but you can try!).
  4. Remove 1 piece from the bowl and split it into two pieces. Flatten one piece out to be about 1/4-1/2″ thick (see picture above).
  5. Spread cheese in the center of the flattened piece, leaving at least 1″ of meat around the cheese (size picture to the right)
  6. Flatten the second half of the first patty that was reserved on the plate. Place it on top of the cheese-topped patty and push the edges together to seal the seam. Pick the ball up and work it a little to remove any visible seam line.
  7. Continue with the remaining burgers.
  8. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the meat reads 165F. Remember, there is cheese in the middle, so you need to only go down about 1″ to read the meat temperature.

ENJOY!

Meatballs

Jason loves meatballs…what man doesn’t? I personally would like to add tons of vegetables to my spaghetti instead of any type of meat. However, Jason is a man, and he needs his meat, so I decided to make him a little treat…

People often think that beef and other ground meats are “bad” for them. First, I would like to challenge everyone reading this to not call foods “good” and “bad.” No one food is going to kill us and no one food is going to save us. When that one food is discovered, then I think the dichotomous thinking of “good” and “bad” can be used. Instead, we could use words like, “less healthful” and “nutritious.” I think these words (much more than the latter) promote thinking of food as food and encourage the possibility of a diet that includes all foods, in moderation.

Regardless, ground meat, while it tends to be high in fat, is a great choice of a few dinners each week. It is filling and provides important vitamins and minerals, some of which include B12, iron, zinc, and B6. If you are going to chose beef and other ground meats for meals, I would strongly encourage you to purchase the leaner varieties (90% lean or higher) if possible.

Meatballs
20 oz lean ground meat (I used turkey)

1 egg
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ tbsp fresh oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground chili powder
salt
freshly ground black pepper
oil for frying

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Shape into 10-20 balls. Try to keep your hands wet to preventing sticking.
  3. Fry in a pan for about 10 minutes, or until the temperature reads 165F. Be sure to continuously turn the meatballs until they are browned on all sides.